Father Pedro Arrupe, in his address to the Tenth International Congress of Jesuit Alumni of Europe, stated, “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others.” José Alvarez, a Jesuit alumnus, lived his life according to Father Arrupe’s message: Always as a man for others. This belief is evidenced in what he told his youth soccer players, “I hope I have been a positive influence on your life and hope what we have done in the past will help you in the future. Always remember to give of yourself to help others.” Now the community mourns his recent passing, yet José’s memory survives in the hearts of his family and the people whom he touched over 40 years as a community leader.
Originally from Cuba, José came to Tampa as a young man where he attended Jesuit High School and later the University of South Florida. In 1975 with continued tenacity and determination, he started Alvarez Company, P.A., CPA Firm in Brandon and Apollo Beach which, over the course of 30 years, grew to form four branches with over 30 employees. Besides practicing public accounting, José branched out as a consultant for mergers and acquisitions, CFO services, and entrepreneurial business advice. While growing his business, José always found time to grow the community. He sat on the parish council of his local church. As treasurer of the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce, he helped integrate the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce to form the SouthShore Chamber. He was an important member of the Ybor City Civitan Club and helped form the Greater Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce.
Yet, the most remarkable things about José were related to his roles as a father and a soccer coach. For over 30 years, he was active as a volunteer and coach for the Brandon Area Youth Soccer League, even during the busiest of tax seasons. Since 1985, he sponsored the Alvarez Award for the Hillsborough County Outstanding Male and Female High School Soccer Players of the Year. His son, Kevin Alvarez, a past player and a business partner, stated, “The underlying thing was that he loved being around kids. He loved teaching period.”
José had the ability to unlock a player’s potential as an athlete and inspire life lessons. He treated every player like his own child. Steven Alvarez, his oldest son, added, “There’s been a couple of players that have come up and said that your father was the best thing that ever happened to me, and when you hear that you realize how lucky we were that we were the ones that got to call him our father all the time.”
José lived a remarkable life, cut tragically short at 66. What his family thought was a stroke was actually a rare, degenerative brain disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). It impacts only 300 people a year in the United States and equates to one in a million globally. There is no cure for this disease which tragically and quickly takes the lives of it patients.
His memory though cannot be taken. “At some point in my life he was my coach and my father, and at another point he was my business partner and my father, and he was always more than just my father,” said Kevin.
For his sons and for the countless individuals he has touched through coaching and business, José’s memory lives in them through their daily interactions, inspiring all to become men and women for others.
José leaves behind his wife, Janet, and his three sons, Steven, Kevin, and Ryan. As a family, they decided to carry on his legacy of giving to others as well as funding research for CJD.
For more information about how to donate to the fund, visit Joséalvarezmemorial.com.